May 23, 2013

Impermanence: Friend & Foe. ~ Serra Lynn Smick

The only thing constant is change.

We know from the universal law of conservation of energy that in a closed system, energy is permanent in that it is neither created nor destroyed, and impermanent in that it is in a continual state of flux. Energy has the capacity to change from one form to another. An example of this is the conversion of solar energy into chemical energy, as in photosynthesis.

In observing the formula for photosynthesis, 6CO2 + 6H2O + Light Energy = C6H12O6 + 6O2, we find that the units on one side of the equation are equal to the other side of the equation. Energy can take the form of a wave, or a particle. In the example above, light energy is an example of energy in wave form, and carbon dioxide (CO2), water (H2o), sugar (C6H12o6) and oxygen (O2) are examples of energy in particle form.

Behind the form lies the formless, where what exists now was once only a possibility.

An example of this is an oak tree. Within the acorn lies the potential to become an oak tree. What is the driving force behind the collaboration of events that occurs in order for the acorn to become the oak? Some would say coincidence, yet most would agree that there is a driving force behind the orchestration of life.

Who, or what is the driving force?

The force goes by many names according to your beliefs: religious, spiritual or otherwise. For the sake of simplicity, and respect for all beliefs lets call this force “Great Spirit.” Impermanence is a part of life, and we have a choice in how we respond. Ignorance, or being in the dark about, and resisting the universal truth of impermanence, gives rise to attachment and aversion. Ignorance, attachment and aversion are the three poisons that taint our actions. We reap what we sow, and so as long as our actions, or karma, are poisoned, so too will our path. Our most loving and nurturing choice is to embrace impermanence through acceptance of what is.

Over time and space, we can observe the impermanence of energy within the Universe, and within ourselves.

Of course this is true since we are a microcosm of the macrocosm. We’ve all heard the phrase “times have changed,” and the famous quote by Heraticlus “nothing endures but change.” We know these principles and yet applying them to our everyday life is a lot easier said than done, especially when our mind and heart get involved. When we have an experience that is pleasurable, our hearts open wide and the mind becomes attached to the rush of joy and ecstasy we receive. Once the mind recognizes that the experience is a positive one, it creates a preference and seeks to repeat, or hold onto the experience, which creates attachment.

One of our deepest fears is the loss of what we become attached to and the ultimate loss is loss of life. Death is our greatest fear because it threatens loss of everything we know and yet death and change are the only constants in life. Maybe it is time to develop a healthier relationship to all things that come our way in life, especially death. Attachment is an extreme reaction to a situation and like the yin-yang symbol, the polar opposite is true as well. Just as the darkness cannot be appreciated without the existence of light, attachment cannot be felt without the felt existence of aversion.

Where there is attachment, there is the possibility of loss, and thus aversion to whatever threatens to rip it from our grasp.

When we have a negative experience of something in life, we become averted to its continuity, or repetition and want nothing to do with it. We will do just about anything to extricate ourselves from the uncomfortable feelings that arise from coming face to face with something we don’t like. It is important to understand that it is not the person, place, or thing which agitates us that is the problem, rather it is the our reaction to it that creates inner turmoil. It is also important to understand that magic and growth happen outside of our comfort zone. If we can learn to detach ourselves from the situation, and from our projections of a negative outcome long enough to gain a more broad perspective, we can open up to the possibility of a different result.

There are infinite possible outcomes to any situation.

Fear creates aversion. Fear of not being enough, loss and of the unknown are a few common sources of disturbance. We all have different core fears, and becoming familiar with your authentic fears will assist in observing the sources of your aversions, however deep or superficial they may appear. As Alan Watts put it “the only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.” Our most favored outcome is one where we can gain access to expansion and love, which could arguably be stated as the purpose of life. Love is expansion. If we can learn to love through all of our experiences, we can remain in a constant state of expansion, which is the ultimate goal of all religious and spiritual paths.

In the present moment, everything is always exactly as it should be.

Our bodies, jobs, roles, life stages, preferences, thoughts, emotions are continually in a state of flux. Yes, this brings up attachment and aversion as we cling to what we want and reject what we don’t. Remember that with every death, there is also rebirth. “Out with the old and in with the new.” This phenomenon happens with or without or participation. We can choose to consciously let go of what no longer serves us in order to make space for what we do want, or life can do the work for us. It can be tough when we are left in the dark as to why we experience a loss. It helps to remember that in each moment lies is a gift.

Our gift is that in each moment there is an opportunity for growth and to live out our highest truth with integrity and purpose.

By accepting, honoring and learning from each moment, we live a life of faith and prayer. Offering one’s life up to Great Spirit as a vessel for growth and expansion of human consciousness is the ultimate prayer. Have faith in the continual flux of everything in the world of form, including thought and emotion and set yourself free from the bonds of attachment and aversion. The winds of change will continue to blow wild and free. As the wolf spider weaves a web between two blades of grass, rather than two solid structure so the wind does not destroy its home, it is up to us to prepare our hearts and minds to bend with the wind by not clinging to things and events in our life.

When we truly surrender to each moment and let the breath of Great Spirit flow through our lives, we allow process of our own personal life path to unfold naturally and sing beautiful stories of love and mystery with our lives.

We build walls around our preferences to protect them from what threatens their existence. As the late J. Krishnamurti says, “only the mind which has no walls, no foothold, no barrier, no resting place, which is moving completely with life, timelessly pushing on, exploring, exploding-only such a mind can be happy, eternally new, because it is creative in itself… Such a mind is life itself, because life has no resting place.”

If we resist and deny the impermanent nature of all things, and work to control the outcome of our experience, we stagnate and deny the natural flow of Great Spirit. It is up to use to awaken to our path, our way, and our light. Ultimately there is only one path, one way, one truth and one light. Discovering how our own individual path aligns with the One true path is our purpose for living in this world. In the now moment lies the gateway to acceptance of what is.

Published by permission from: ExineArticles.com


Serra Lynn Smick is a fearless, passionate and curious devotee of life in service to Great Spirit. She teaches people how to unlock harmonious balance within themselves, nature and all that is. Her vinyasa classes are a unique, progressive blend of contemporary and traditional sequencing, equal parts sacred and silly. She started a successful yoga cooperative, A Sacred Space, while teaching at five other studios. Currently living in Big Sur, Serra is an author of wellness and spirituality for many online resources, such as EZine Articles. An E-RYT 200 Yoga Teacher (White Lotus & Corepower), she is the creator of Global Tribe Yoga, a YA-recognized movement collective hosting workshops, retreats, and teacher trainings. Serra’s intention is grace with integrity of prayer, to inspire a higher evolution of consciousness.

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Ed. Wendy Keslick/Kate Bartolotta




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